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Foreign Affairs

Statement by the Liberal Party on the Fifth Anniversary of the Civil Marriage Act

Posted on July 20, 2010

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff made the following statement today on the fifth anniversary of the Civil Marriage Act:

“Today marks a historic day in Canadian history and a proud and distinguishing moment for the Liberal Party of Canada. Five years ago today, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize marriage between persons of the same sex.

“First announced by Jean Chretien’s Liberal government, former Minister of Justice, Martin Cauchon, issued the first draft of what would become Bill C-38 on July 17, 2003. Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s December 9, 2004, favourable ruling on the constitutionality of marriage between same-sex couples, the final draft of the bill was introduced in the House of Commons by former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler in Paul Martin’s Liberal government on February 1, 2005. Bill C-38 passed in the House of Commons on June 28, 2005, and in the Senate on July 19, 2005. It received Royal Assent the following day.

“On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, today we reaffirm our belief that defending the rights of all people – not just those of the majority – is at the very soul of what it means to be a Canadian.”

Former Liberal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon (2002-2004) said:

“The Liberal Party of Canada believes a fundamental aspect of our national character is the freedom allotted to Canadians under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By extending the right of civil marriage to same-sex couples the Liberal government proudly affirmed Canada’s commitment to protecting minority rights and guaranteeing equality for all.”

Former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler (2004 – 2006) said:

“Anchored in two fundamental Charter rights – the right to equality without discrimination and the right to freedom of religion – I am proud my party, the Liberal Party of Canada, stood strongly for its values, did what it believed was right and was successful in passing the Civil Marriage Act.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre Hedy Fry said:

“After decades of fighting for this through the courts, Canada’s gay and lesbian community won a great victory when the Liberal government legalized same-sex marriage, despite having to endure vehement opposition from the Conservative party. Today we must remain ever vigilant, as the Conservatives attempt to impose their ideological biases on Canadians by co-opting Pierre Trudeau’s argument for decriminalizing homosexuality – the state does not belong in the bedrooms of Canadians – as a defense for their proposed cuts to the Canadian census.”